"What is joy really? And if my strength comes from the joy of the Lord (Psalm 28:7), then what does the joy of the Lord really look like?
As I write these words, I'm struggling with a deep desire to be grumpy and complain. Most days I handle my husband's crazy shift-work schedule pretty well. But today? Well, today I feel like complaining. So how do I find joy and strength from the Lord? Enough to make me "burst out in songs of thanksgiving?"
How do YOU?
Here's the secret: Focus on Christ. Focus on what He did for you (and for your sons) on the cross. I suspect we Christians have a tendency to misunderstand the phrase, "placing our trust in Christ." Placing our trust in Christ isn't something we did once and never do again. Salvation may be a once and forever event, but trusting in Christ is ongoing. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to be important enough to change my grumpiness to gratefulness. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to get me through a rough day with my children. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross to be enough when I'm enduring tantrums in the grocery store. Trusting in Christ's work of grace on the cross when my sons choose their own will ...
'The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.' - Psalm 28:7"
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Christ's work on the cross was never intended to be something we took joy in one time and then never again. Thinking on His work and embracing it with a heart of gratefulness is enough to make even the grumpiest among us "burst out in songs of thanksgiving." No matter where we are, or what we're experiencing, we CAN find joy in focusing on all that Christ has done and made possible through His death and resurrection.
Have you read the Fruit of the Spirit chapter that introduces prayers for love and joy (and the rest of the fruits of the spirit)? I cried when I read it -- it hit so close to home. And I KNOW that I am not alone. But for me, we HAVE seen years and years of praying change the hearts of our sons, one in particular. I pray EACH DAY that his heart -- and the hearts of his brothers -- will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit.
So keeping Brooke's story in the book in mind, I ask this... There comes a time in every child's life, when the sin-nature starts to show its ugly head. For Brooke and her husband, this came accompanied by a difficult life-altering challenge that made it difficult for them to train their son. Can you relate? How did you cope? Comment below or on the Facebook page.
Today, cover your sons with the prayers regarding joy. And I will cover you with these prayers, as well.